Oh wait. Sure I do. Lee just recently signed a six-year, $42 million dollar contract last summer despite his injury-ridden past. But, before you begin the rants of how our beloved Sean is stealing $42 million dollars from us, let’s review the facts.
The totality of the $42 million is over a six-year period and is laden with on the field incentives to protect the club somewhat. The Cowboys granted Lee a signing bonus of $10 million and his guaranteed money comes in at $16 million. His base salary would have increased by $1.5 million in 2015 had he played his obligated 80% of snaps last season and in 2014.
Obviously, between the missed games last year and him being set to miss the entire 2014 season, he will not see that payout.
Still being held to the 80% rule, if Lee were to accomplish that playing time from 2015-2018, he would see increases of $2 million per year to his salary. Based on his history, although I’m really pulling for him, I’m hard pressed to see this occurring. More saved money for the Cowboys.
His annual base pay would increase in 2016 from $2.5 million to $3 million and then he’d receive one final base bump from 2017-2019 up to $7 million. The challenge in moving/releasing him would be the salary cap hit and the eating of dead money.
As you can see, although we are taking a hit financially with Lee on the sidelines, it’s hardly the full $42 million dollars and definitely not the max $50+ million. Especially considering the majority of his base salary is backloaded to the final few years of the contract (which he may not be in Dallas to collect at this rate).